Basically, we’re racing at low tide
(as of Mar 26, 2019 via http://wrightsvillebeachpaddleclub.com/carolina-cup/ accessed at 6:37am)
- 8:00am-Longboard Graveyard Racers Meeting Sound Side
- 8:25am-Longboat Graveyard race: 13.2-mile race exclusively for Elite OC-1, OC-2, Surfski and Double-Ski 8:30am-Harbor Island Racers Meeting Sound Side
- 8:40am-Harbor Island Recreational race: 3.5-mile flatwater race for first-time to intermediate paddleboarder
- 8:45am-Money Island Racers Meeting Sound Side
Low Tide is at 8:57
- 9:10am-Money Island Open race: 6.5-mile flatwater race designed for the intermediate to advanced paddler
- 9:25am- Graveyard Elite Racers Meeting
- 9:40am-Graveyard Elite race: grueling 13.2-mile ocean and flatwater race for the elite and professional paddleboard racers
One note about the listed Wrightsville Beach Tides, and I’m the only one who thinks this, is that they are all about 30 minutes before the observed changes. It’s projected that low tide will be at 8:57am for instance. I expect at 8:57, there will still be outgoing current and it won’t be slack until 9:30. Again, I’m the only one who gets annoyed by this or notices.
A lower tide forces you to take longer routes and does not allow you to cut across/paddle over sand and oyster bars that are submerged at high tide.
Next, low tide means sand bars and oyster bars are more in play. They are hazards and you need to watch out for them. I will post a follow up of specific areas to avoid in later posts.
It means more room on the sound side beach for boards and people, less protected area of water inside the docks.
In Mason’s Inlet, the inlet at the north end, it means there are few options. There’s the channel, if you can find it and sand bars. I expect a lot of people to be running across sand bars and getting stuck if they try to take the direct tangent. There are still a few weeks and the possibility of a dredge, so it’s too soon for recon, drone video. We will get that the week before the event.
You can test the conditions, at least from a tide perspective at this same time between now and the event. Look up the tides in Wrightsville Beach here
Finally, It means a slack-ish tide for the start of the races, incoming tides and current increasing over the morning. I will post the direction of the tides and current with an incoming tide (tide going from low to high).
What do I do with this knowledge?
Paddle The Course (if possible)
Arrive a day or two early and take a shake-down cruise on at least part of the course, if not all of it. Just to get a feel for things and take away some of the mystery.
Here is the tide chart for Thursday and Friday prior to the race if you want to check it out.